HomePod vs. Echo vs. Google Home

Discussion in 'HomeKit, HomePod, CarPlay, Home & Auto Technology' started by maflynn, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #1
    I've not seen any threads dedicated to the comparisons. I know the homepod is not out yet but we mostly know of the features.
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    Given the price of the HomePod, it being 350 dollars, compared to Echo's at 99 (been discounted to 79), I'm having a hard time seeing any advantages. Plus for me Siri seems inferior to what the others can do. I have no doubt the sound from the HomePod will be the best.

    I have the echo and I'm very impressed with its capability and I feel given the lower cost, I can easily justify placing multiple echos around my house and further embracing the whole smart house philopshy by getting other home automation technology.

    Google Home. I threw that in there just because its Google, but by the same token, I don't really like Google Home, because its Google.

    Thoughts on the HomePod as it competes against the other smart speakers.
     
  2. Dave245 macrumors 604

    Dave245

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    #2
    While the Amazon Echo and Google Home do have better voice assistants I personally prefer sound quality, yes I will be using the HomePod to set alarms and maybe ask for new songs but other than that i won’t use Siri much like with my iPhone and iPad Pro. The one advantage I see with the HomePod is on security. The questions I have surrounding the HomePod are:

    How will it work if I want to set an alarm on my HomePod “Hey Siri set my alarm for 4am” but there are other devices in the room like my iPhone?

    Will Apple be adding new features at WWDC? Like iOS could we see additional features and maybe even developer access.

    I do think Amazon and Google have an advantage as far as the assistant goes BUT I think Apple can build a better quality product.
     
  3. lparsons21 macrumors 6502

    lparsons21

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    #3
    I had thought to get a HomePod when they come out, but frankly see not nearly enough advantages to justify the huge cost differential. If you want to use a smart speaker as part of your smart home, then having only one in the house just doesn't get the job done. You need them scattered in many places. For those areas where playing full fidelity music the Echo Mini and Google Home Mini @$29 make a lot more sense.
     
  4. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

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    #4
    I really am tempted for the homepod, but it seems to be mostly a music player, where as Amazon is extending alexa in ways that Apple should have, long ago. I mean they announced (or released) homekit way back in 2014, and they're still just barely scratching the surface with home automation. This stuff should have been up Apple's ally
     
  5. bbednarz macrumors 6502a

    bbednarz

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    #5
    I cant find a compelling reason to want to switch my Alexa devices to HomePods personally. As it stands now my Alexa devices are strictly used for smart home, timers, weather, and other "smart" commands. None of my Echos are even plugged into speakers. HomePod seems like it is geared more towards the audiophile crowd and less towards the smart home aspect.

    It would be really hard to justify $350 on ONE HomePod when I can get the Echos for $30-$50 depending on the sales. As the days go by it really seems like apple is badly losing the smart home "battle". I am about as die hard of an apple fan as you will find, but I made the decision to stick with Alexa, it just works. I really wanted to do the whole HomeKit only thing, but the amount of devices that support Alexa is way greater (and sometimes cheaper) than the amount that can do HomeKit. HomeKits app is way better than Echos though. The Alexa app really needs some work, but I really only use it when I need to add a new device so its not a deal breaker.
     
  6. DJinTX macrumors 6502

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    #6
    People keep comparing Homepod to Echo and Google Home, but that doesn't appear to be the user Apple is after with Homepod. If they did, it would not have all the high end audio components. Seems more related to the Sonos Play 3 or new Sonos One than anything else, and also the Google Home Max. If they wanted to compete with the Echos, and Dots, and Google Home/Mini, then I think they would release a Homepod Mini with smaller/less capable speakers, which maybe they will at some point. But the Echo and the HomePod are not in the same game. For those adopting and liking the echo and Alexa, more power to you, its a valid choice, and to them I'm sure it looks like Apple is losing. But, Apple isn't really fighting that fight at the moment. That may not always be the case, but time will tell.
     
  7. robjulo macrumors 65816

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    #7
    IMO, Apple is going to have a tough time competing in any space. Anyone looking at the low end, will be fine with the much cheaper Echo or Home.

    Those more concerned with audio quality will opt for the Sonos One as an example. The Sonos One sounds great and integrates with far more services (Alexa now and Google soon) than HomePod. I cannot think of any reason to justify a HomePod, especially at the inflated price.
     
  8. DJinTX macrumors 6502

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    #8
    I am looking at both the Sonos One and the Homepod. I may end up getting one of them, and I may get neither. HomePod price is high for sure, but the better audio quality that HomePod represents is absolutely the biggest selling point for me. Smart features are secondary. Yes Sonos One is well reviewed for sound quality as well, but early ears-on comparisons of the two show Homepod to sound much better. As for assistants, I like Siri alot and have no interest in Alexa or Google Assistant. Also, since I am already in the Apple Ecosystem, this makes HomePod more attractive as well. Finally, as for trust related to my privacy, Apple wins hands down. I could still Opt for Sonos One at some point instead, but it would really only be if I decide I can't swing the $350 for the HomePod. All other factors are in Apple's favor. Of course this is based on my personal needs/wants.
     
  9. robjulo macrumors 65816

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    #9
    Everyone has their own needs. I’m talking about mass market adoption like Amazon and Google have. It’s not happening for Apple with the HomePod in my opinion.

    First, as to privacy, the average Joe or Jane doesn’t care about it like you do. It’s not a priority as proven by the number of people with facebook accounts.

    As to sound quality, think about this, the HomePod is more than double, yes more than double, what the Sonos cost. I bought two Sonos Ones for $50 less than a single HomePod costs. Any non-audiophile doesn’t care the HomePod may sound 5% better. I sure as heck don’t trust those who “reviewed” the HomePod. That was an Apple event, largely comprised of invited Apple fans who are not going to say a negative word, less those future invites get revoked.

    Finally, Sonos has the Apple ecosystem baked in, and Alexa, and Google.

     
  10. Bazooka-joe macrumors 68020

    Bazooka-joe

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    #10
    I bought in to the Apple ecosystem years ago but have echos scattered all over the house for home automation and assistants. They are fantastic. I think the Apple have got it wrong and missed the boat. If people want a high quality stereo system they will go out and buy from one of the well-known manufacturers. I don’t think the HomePod will sell that well as Apple have misunderstood the market and the majority the people that will buy these type of devices and are looking for both home assistance and music functionality wont give a rats ass about a better sound quality for four times the price. I do think that Apple have realized that they have got it wrong hence the delay of the HomePod whilst they furiously increase the functionality and performance of Siri and relax the rules around HomeKit to try and catch up.
    I will purchase a Homepod but only because I have Apple Music and HomeKit supports my heating system. Apart from that it’s echos all the way
     
  11. DJinTX macrumors 6502

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    #11
    I think the difference is you are talking market share and mass appeal, and I’m not. I don’t need most of America to buy one, or even most smart speaker buyers. I liked it better before everyone and their dog jumped on the Apple bandwagon. As for your comment about Sonos having the Apple ecosystem baked in, not sure exactly what you mean by that, but they don’t yet support Siri. Supposedly they will but not yet. There is also a lot to be said for Apple controlling/designing all of the product (hardware/software). If my Sonos is acting weird communicating to my other Apple gear, Apple is only going to isolate it as not their issue and then kick you to Sonos. And if Sonos can’t figure it out, they’ll tell you to call Apple, and boom, you’re stuck in the gray area of non-support. If you have Homepod, Apple supports it all, which is a big advantage.
     
  12. Peepo macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 18, 2009
    #12
    I am Apple all the way but I recently bought four Google Home devices (three mini and one regular). They were on sale so all four of them cost less than half the price of what the HomePod will be. They work great with my ISY994i controller and Insteon devices (something I have to hack with homebridge to get working with Siri therefore probably won't support HomePod). But after having for a while the novelty quickly wears off. I do turn lighting on/off with them (which is main reason I got for), but for other things like timers, appointments, news etc. I find it easier to use my iPhone, iPad, or MacBook. I spend more time trying to figure out what to say to get a response than it is worth the hassle. They make a good impression at first but one quickly realizes just how far off the dream is of true AI - they really have no clue what I am asking and its all just a neat parlour trick that fails miserably as you use demand more out of them.

    I think Apple realizes this which is why they are marketing the HomePod mainly as a good sounding speaker rather than giving false hope of some magic AI that promises to do everything for you.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 12, 2018 ---
    I think the point was that Sonos supports Apple Music. I have Sonos and can play anything from my Apple Music account after linking it in the Sonos App.
     
  13. robjulo macrumors 65816

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    #13
    My point about the Apple echo system built in, is that Apple, google, amazon music, pandora etc etc are all built in to the Sonos app. I’d bet a house that won’t happen with HomePod. It will be walled off, unusable by other devices such as TVs and other a/v products.

    The thing not built to Sonos in is Siri (Airplay 2 will be), which is by far, the worst of the four major digital assistants.

    And I was talking about mass market, that was the point of the thread. Apple has already dropped the ball. There is no market for a device that costs more than double its competitors, has far less features and services support and maybe, maybe sounds slightly better.


     
  14. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

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    #14
    Yes and no. Yes Apple is trying to carve out a demographic that wants high end speaker experience, but at the same time, Apple released Sirikit in iOS 11.2 that provides a framework to give Siri similar abilities that the Echo has

    To turn the question on the side, if Apple isn't looking for the smark speaker crowd to sell the homePod too, who are they looking to sell this too? I remember Apple's illfated iPod hi-fi that was purported to give superior audio, but it largely failed. We need to consider that apple is looking to entice customers who want a smart speaker to buy their HomePod.

    Back to my original post; I want to want the apple homepod (if that makes sense), but the Echo seems more feature rich, i.e., Apple has stated only Apple Music will stream from the HomePod. I figure, I can still stream Pandora via BT from my phone, but that's the point. I want to compare what the Echo has for features vs. Apple. Again I totally understand that Echo is out and is been continually improved, but the HomePod isn't out yet and we certainly can presume it will be improved but yet, when apple wants me to spend 350, I'm hoping for a similar experience.
     
  15. Dave245 macrumors 604

    Dave245

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    #15
    This guy on Twitter seems to think that Apple are working on Siri version 2 for the HomePod, IF (it's a very BIG if) that is true maybe it's the reason why Apple delayed the HomePod in order to work on something that can directly compete with the Echo and so on in the personal assistant space.

    The main i will be buying the HomePod is for a speaker (as i don't have one in the house at all) and as my alarm in the bedroom, i have been thinking of buying 2 one for the bedroom and another for my home office but it will depend on how good the sound is and whether they can communicate with each other in separate rooms of the house.
     

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  16. DJinTX macrumors 6502

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    #16
    They are looking to sell it to the Apple fans who want a high end wireless home speaker that also happens to have Siri support. Depending on that success, then maybe they release some Homepod minis to counter the Echo. Right now they can test the water without committing to being in competition. So if Homepod doesn’t take off they can still say the echo didn’t win as it wasn’t the niche they were going for.
     
  17. cynics macrumors G4

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    #17
    Being immersed into the Apple ecosystem Amazon and Google products can't benefit me as much as I would prefer. Like sending iMessages, modifying my calendar, Notes, Reminders and getting me that data on other devices like my iPhone, Watch, and iMac. I'm hoping the HomePod will fill that void.

    I also find the Echo sound quality (clarity to be precise) to be underwhelming. Its just bland. And while it remains to be seen I'm hoping for more from the HomePod.

    If it fails to deliver I either wont buy one or return it.
     
  18. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

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    #18
    I guess this is where Apple is looking to leverage their ability to produce great sound, and from the early reports of when it was announced, I'd say it will be so.
     
  19. madeirabhoy macrumors 6502a

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    #19

    for you yes, but overall market share = success and money. sometimes companies release niche products, even apple, but in a situation like this if home pod is a niche product then its a failure as its going to be in a market where it could and should be relatively successful. theres a massive market for smart speakers, and a massive market for bluetooth speakers of various qualities from cheap to quality. i dont believe apple is purposely positioning this product to miss all the mass markets and hit a weird niche of apple user who's well off and wants a quality speaker, isn't too fussed that the smart bit is rubbish, is going to choose apple over established speaker brands. im not saying that market doesnt exist, you fit it as you say, i thought about fitting into it, but i think success for apple is getting siri up to its competitors level and selling tons of home pods versus selling not many at all with the present siri and batting off criticism by saying 'ah we arent aiming for those sort of customers anyway'

    and the delay in release has made it harder for them, in part i think because announcing it made more people think about the benefits of a smart speaker, then they couldn't get one before cristmas, plus i think last cristmas seemed to me to be the first cristmas where smart speakers were everywhere, both google and amazon discounted heavily to grab market share.


    its like me, our house is almost entirely apple. long history of apple, presently both of us have macs, iPads, i have iphone wife has work android, i would have pushed the boat out to get a home pod. it then was perfect time to get philips hue bulbs everywhere and when home pod was delayed i got first a philips home, then a home mini. both work very well. no the speaker isn't sonos quality but its fine, and google assistant blows siri out of the water. between now and home pod finally appearing, ill have more time to a) realise how bad siri is, b) will likely have expanded from lights to smart sockets, and for them it appears i have to choose homekit or google so ill choose google at the minute. by the time apple gets a product out, it'll be for me, too late, too expensive, and too stupid.

    i can only hope that the delay might be about either hugely improving siri, might be enough to persuade me to push the google homes into kitchen and bedrooms, it would be even better if apple was rethinking the product, maybe 2 different models, a normal home pod for 350 and a cheaper google home equivalent for say 150.
     
  20. DJinTX macrumors 6502

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    #20
    I’m not saying Apple doesn’t want to conquer the smart speaker category, rather that I don’t think this iteration of HomePod is the product they have designated for that purpose. I think HomePod minis or something similar are on the way. Those too likely will be more expensive than Echos, but they feel people pay for quality. I think they have a bigger vision that we aren’t aware of yet.

    My wishful thinking: Not long after HomePod launches they do come out with a smaller less expensive version that they anticipate being in most people’s homes and possibly multiple rooms. An even bigger pipe dream for me is that these minis in addition to providing voice control in multiple rooms also act as Airport wireless mesh network. I know it won’t happen, but it should because it’s a damn good idea.
     
  21. whsbuss macrumors 68040

    whsbuss

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    #21
    Got my Sonos One on Cyber Monday...... love it
     
  22. The Game 161 macrumors P6

    The Game 161

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    #22
    Wondered the same

    I know when I say hey Siri with my Apple Watch series 3 it only activates the watch and not my phone but only when I raise my wrist.

    Maybe hey HomePod would be better
     
  23. whsbuss macrumors 68040

    whsbuss

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    #23
    So, I have watch and iDevice and I live with 2 different room mates..... will Hey Siri only work for my voice?
     
  24. zachlegomaniac macrumors 6502a

    zachlegomaniac

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    #24
    I'm glad people brought up the Sonos One here as well. Right now I am trying to decide whether to buy a pair of Sonos Ones and have stereo sound for 50$ more than the HomePod or just wait for the HomePod. My impending purchase is definitely sound-driven, but I also want a Wi-Fi speaker, which led me to Sonos. I'm also trying to creep out of the Apple Ecosystem. The advantage of the HomePod, of course, is that I should be able to use it with the Apple TV (unless I am misinformed), but that's the price I pay for starting to move away from Apple products, I suppose.

    Can anyone speak to the quality of two Sonos Ones or Play:1s paired for stereo sound? If they enable Airplay 2 when it debuts on the Sonos should it, theoretically, be capable of sending audio from the AppleTV?
     
  25. Dave245 macrumors 604

    Dave245

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    #25
    I would of thought "Hey HomePod" would of been better as you're speaking to a specific product. When i set my alarm and want it set on the HomePod only i could see it being annoying if i say "Hey Siri" and my phone picks it up instead. Knowing Apple tho they have thought about this and it won't be the case, i'm more than willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, i'm hoping more details and features will be announced before or at the time of it's release.
     

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